Friday 15 March 2019 is World Sleep Day and I’m sure that most of us could do with a bit more sleep. Or a lot more sleep. Or maybe just better sleep. Here at Juliettes, we have some of the world’s finest luxury beds and all the beautiful luxury bedroom furniture to go with them. We are sure, however, that there’s more to a good night’s sleep than what you happen to be sleeping on.
We asked Anthony Thompson, a teacher of Vedic meditation and founder of MindMojo, for his advice on getting the best night’s sleep.
Q: How can we manage when our sleep is compromised?
A: We can’t. Compromised sleep is something that happens all too often but which we want to actively avoid. All the research shows that to function optimally, we regularly need eight hours’ sleep every night. Too little or too much sleep can have a serious impact on health.
Q: What happens to us, physically and mentally, if we don’t get enough sleep?
A: Sleep is when the body repairs itself at the cellular level and the brain processes information. Compromised sleep will have a dramatic, long term impact on the immune system and long term memory.
Research in 2000 by Professor David Dinges, University of Pennsylvania, shows that micro sleeping is common amongst those who are not getting enough sleep. This is when we close our eyes for micro seconds, or longer, which results in lapses in concentration, which could have fatal results. It was discovered that just ten days with only six hours’ sleep a night would make you as impaired in performance as if you had gone without sleep for 24 hours straight. If you only sleep for fours hours a night, it takes only six nights to achieve the same result. There was also a 400% increase in micro sleeps over people who had a regular eight hours’ sleep.
Q: If you could give just one piece of advice for getting a good night’s sleep, what would it be?
A: Establish a sleep-friendly routine, which applies for all seven days of the week.
Q: What should we be looking for in a bed?
A: Comfort and freshness. The mattress and bed should be of the best quality you can afford. The same goes for the bed linen and your sleep wear. I strongly recommend changing bed linen and sleepwear every two days – would you wear the same clothes for eight hours for seven consecutive days?
Q: Should we be thinking about the whole bedroom, not just the bed?
A: Yes. The bedroom ideally should be a sanctuary with as little stimulus as possible.
Clear out all the clutter and unnecessary stuff we accumulate. If you want to fall asleep easily and stay asleep, you don’t need TVs, phones tablets and laptops. It’s well known that the blue light from screens affects the anterior hypothalamus which is the sleep regulator. Blue light naturally occurs at dawn, and red light at dusk. We don’t want to get into bed and get overly stimulated. The bedroom should be calm and unlike anywhere else in the home, and also kept 2 degrees cooler than body temperature.
Q: Does exercise make a difference?
A: Exercise is great for dealing with stress and getting the body to function optimally, but some of us get obsessed to the point where it is actually doing more harm than good. It’s best to remember that ‘time off’ is just as important and we need to get better at ‘reading’ our body and adapting accordingly. Going to bed tired rather than exhausted and waking refreshed rather than groggy is what we all want and need.
Q: Does what you eat (and when you eat) affect your sleep?
A: What you have ingested, how much and when, will affect how well you get to sleep and stay asleep. Too much food and alcohol will take time to properly digest and is bound to affect the quality of your sleep. Ideally we should head for bed with a neutral digestive system, and all food and drink effectively processed.
Q: How important is a strict bedtime routine?
A: It’s really helpful, but let’s be realistic. We all like to socialise and enjoy ourselves, which can interrupt our sleep patterns. If you work on the basis that eight hours’ sleep is the ideal, perhaps even non-negotiable, then you can adjust and work around it.
Q: What should that routine include?
A: Finish eating at least two hours before bedtime, switch off all electronic devices as soon as you can, and if you want to read, do so with soft light. If you are having a ‘heavy’ conversation wrap it up well before bedtime – going to bed upset or angry doesn’t help.
Q: Are there any relaxation techniques you can recommend?
A: One of the reasons people don’t sleep well is because they are overloaded with stress. Sleep is the most natural de-stressor, but so often we find it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep. Those nights when the mind is whirring like a tumble dryer, tossing around a multitude of thoughts, are debilitating. By taking up an easy-to-learn and easy-to-practise meditation technique like Vedic Meditation, which I teach, you will find that removing stress and long-held fatigue becomes easy. Meditation does not replace sleep but it does clear the mind of all those anxieties and worries that can sabotage our eyes shut time. It also helps with critical thinking, memory retention, creativity, increased productivity and improved relationships. Feeling calm and more focused is a great way to approach the day.
Q: Can you give us a simple bedtime countdown?
Minus 2 hours : finish eating and drinking.
Minus 1 hour : getting ready, closing down electronic devices, perhaps taking a shower.
Into bed: reading with soft light, a moment of gratitude, shut those eyes.
A long-term meditator of many decades, Anthony is the founder of MindMojo in Notting Hill, London, where he teaches Vedic Meditation. Vedic Meditation is a natural, effortless technique which has numerous benefits including relief from stress and anxiety, increased energy and productivity, better focus and clarity of mind, improved sleep and better relationships.
He welcomes a wide range of people, all looking for a simple-to-learn and easy-to-practise technique which is relevant and accessible to modern lives. Taught at school when aged 15, Anthony has sought out the foremost teachers of Vedic Meditation in the UK, America and India and now shares his knowledge and insights through small personalised classes for those seeking a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.
Your Bedroom should be a Sanctuary
As Anthony says, your bedroom needs to be a sanctuary. It should be calm, soothing and free of clutter, unlike any other room in your home. No television, no phones, no gadgets. Not at bedtime, anyway. Just a serene selection of luxury furniture – the finest you can afford. Here is just a sneak peek at some of our favourite luxury bedroom furniture but do explore the whole collection to see what you might choose to create your own haven of peace and tranquility. Remember, if you need any help to choose your luxury bedroom furniture, our design team is always on hand to advise on sizes, colours, fabrics and finishes – or to design the perfect bedroom for you. Just give us a call or pop into our showroom on the Kings Road, Chelsea. We would love to meet you.